It is really a challenge to decide how much food to prepare for your graduation party.

If your open house is on a day with dozens of other parties, people may not be very hungry. The graduates and their parents will most likely have multiple parties to go to so they are not going to eat that much. However, relatives, friends, and neighbors attending just your party will eat more.

Food Formula: To help you determine how much food to serve you need to determine how many people will come that are hungry. Start by reviewing your invitation list. Divide the people into one of the following lists (A or B).

A List: Number of people you can count on to come hungry (close relatives, close friends).
B List: The rest of the people you are expecting and cut in half.

Add A and B lists together to determine the number of people you should plan to serve.

General Tips on food:

  • It’s okay to run out of food. Don’t be embarrassed. Just put away the serving dish that is empty.
  • We recommend purchasing some back up options to pull out if you run out. Select things that your family likes to eat: mixed nuts, chips, queso dip and salsa , cheese and crackers, salami, pretzels, frozen mozzarella sticks or pizza rolls, chicken wings, pizza, candy, cookies.
  • Have lots of disposable containers on hand to send leftovers home with your guests.
  • Instead of serving one large platter that sits out for hours, it’s better to serve a smaller platter that gets refilled or replaced as the platter becomes empty.
  • If it is hot out create an ice tray for cold items.
  • Food can be left at room temperature for up to 3 hours, but must be refrigerated after that.
  • Serve or freeze leftovers within 48 hours.

Portion Planning:

Limit your menu to five to seven items to keep it simple.

  • Poultry, meat or fish – 6 ounces when you have one main dish.

  • Pasta, Rice, grains – 2 ounces as a side dish, 4 ounces in a main dish such as risotto.
  • Potatoes – 5 ounces
  • Vegetables – 4 ounces
  • Beans – 2 ounces
  • A watermelon boat full of fruit can serve 75 people.
  • 15 heads of chopped Romaine lettuce serves 75 side salads.
  • Taco bar for 100 people would include 25 pounds of meat.